Download Podcast This podcast is a combination of this post and the blog post entitled “Jesus Changed the Meaning of the Cross” If you are reading the post only and not listening then I want to encourage you to read both posts. Exchange your money! One of the first things you do when you […]
Quiet Your Spirit. The engineer sounded his whistle long and LOUD at the little guy watching beside the tracks. It was loud. The ground rumbled under us as the black train engine roared past. I held Brayden’s hand to keep him safe, but I wanted to put both hands over my ears. Brayden loves trains. And I […]
I was a proud mama when my daughter, Kimberly, graduated from Aveda Beauty Institute with the highest GPA in her class. Another honor was bestowed on her when her classmates voted for her to speak for them at graduation. Kimberly carefully prepared and practiced to hone her presentation. Ashlyn, her daughter, asked, “Are you nervous?” […]
This isn’t a Christmas post. This is not even a late Christmas post. Maybe it’s just my personality…maybe I’m trying to get the last little bit…like trying to squeeze the last little bit of toothpaste out of a totally flat tube. But I don’t want to leave the season without getting transparent with you one more time. […]
My garden is blooming in a rainbow of colors. Join me…I want to share with you what I saw and learned. Brown eyed Susans stand in rigid bouquets. Tiny white blooms cascade from the wheelbarrow that Wayne made me from leftover log siding. Yellow and fuchsia colored mums compete with pink and yellow roses are […]
Have you ever sincerely prayed, “Lord, your will be done.” and when God answered your prayer, you found yourself saying….nooooooooooo!I changed my mind. I find myself there now. Jason, my oldest has been job hunting. Time for a change. Time to move up the corporate ladder. He’s great at what he does. Awesome work […]
It was a dark foggy, moonless night in the mountains. The headlight beams of his Jeep bounced and jiggled as the tired traveler headed toward his log home. As soon as Jim topped the hill, he spotted a small rabbit in the extremities of his headlights as it shot across the road. Jim slowed his vehicle to be sure that he didn’t hit the rabbit.
The bunny crossed at a blurring speed, reached the edge of the road, then leaped high into the air to cross the ditch that twisted and turned parallel to the road. But in the instant it took the rabbit to leap and while the rabbit was still mid-air, an owl swooped down and snatched the rabbit away in his talons. Not a pretty picture if you like rabbits.
What is that makes a rabbit or a squirrel, for that matter, want to dart across the road just in front of your car? It’s a mystery to me, but it has happened more times than I can count. You’re driving along, minding your own business, when an adorable little creature darts out of nowhere, directly into your path. It makes me ask the proverbial question, “Why did the rabbit cross the road?” And Wayne answers, “Because he was chicken, silly!”
But look at this picture for a minute. The rabbit was safe beside the road. The grass was tall. The night was foggy. He was safe– until he moved. He was safe until he crossed the road. What drove him from his safe place to the owl’s dinner plate? The bright headlights must have frightened the small creature and drove him from his feeding place to a dinner plate. Fear drove the rabbit from a safe place into a dangerous place.
And what about you? Have you ever allowed fear or panic or stress to drive you from a safe place into a dangerous place. Panic will do that to you. Panic will make you do crazy things…crazy things. It will catapult you from a safe place into a disastrous place!
I’m not advocating moving into a fetal position or into a cowardice hiding place. That’s living in fear. If you’re living in fear, you’re already living in a disastrous place. And you need to take steps to get free from the fear that imprisons you.
God has a shelter for you. I’m not talking about a hide-a-way where the enemy cannot find you. His shelter is not a place of inactivity or immobility. It’s a place of strength, faith and confidence. It’s a bold place. A grace place. His shelter–His house–a place to live–God’s presence.
Psalms 91 describes it for us. Psalms 91:1 NLT Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. 4 He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, 6 nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 But you will see it with your eyes; you will see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
Did you see the description in verse 1; “rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” This rest goes beyond reclining or resting in the shade of a tree. It reflects a state of emotional rest and confidence. Stepping out because you trust Him.
It’s like a son following close in his father’s shadow. When Jason, my son was little, he would play in his dad’s shadow. The shadow was so big, his tiny steps could hardly keep up and stay inside the shadow. In order to stay in his dad’s shadow he had to stay with his dad. No rabbit trails. No running off. No stopping to play in the mud. He had to stay with his dad.
Walking in His shadow is restful, but you are confident in Him. It is living, breathing, and walking in His strength. Luke 17:28 KJV “For in him we live, and move, and have our being ;” It is leaning into Him. Learning from Him, listening to Him.
Exodus 14:10 describes a scene where the people of God start to panic. Now panic will make you do crazy things…crazy things. After spectacular miracles and amazing favoritism sent by the hand of God, the Jewish people stood on the banks of the Red Sea. No bridge. No boat. Not even a detour was possible, because they watched as Pharaoh’s army marched closer and closer. NLT “As Pharaoh and his army approached, the people of Israel could see them in the distance, marching toward them. The people began to panic, and they cried out to the LORD for help” They cried out to God, but it you follow the next verse, their cries seem to be more panic filled complaints, because next they turned on Moses to vent their frustration and fear. Moses encouraged them with faith filled words. God had a plan.
And He still does. But finding the plan means embracing Him. Living and walking close enough to Him that you can hear His voice and follow where He is leading. Psalms 37:7 NLT “Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”
Don’t let fear drive you from your safe place. Build your faith and confidence about who He is by feeding your Spirit. Let me repeat the instructions from Psalms 37:
- Be Still
- Don’t Worry
- Don’t Fret
There have been many times that I’ve opened the drain in the bottom of the bathtub,then instructed one of my children to get out of the tub. Often I gathered them in my arms, wrapping them in a soft towel, while rubbing them dry and hugging them all at the same time. Sometimes they would lean over the tub and watch a red and yellow boat swirl in the harmless vortex that was created as the water drained from the tub. And sometimes, I’ve watched with them as one of their little toys, made it’s way down the drain before I could grab it. Sorry, Wayne I know that’s how drains get stopped up. There must be something fun about watching things whirl and swirl down the drain, because so many kids do it, including my grandkids. Sometimes they’ve flushed big things, but that’s another story for another day.
But there’s nothing fun about listening to the gurgle or watching people whirl in the vortex of fear and stress from life’s problems. As I listen to people and look around me, I realize that our culture and our country are facing serious problems. I realize that the reality of an avalanche of serious problems piling in on top of us can create a vortex that sucks us into the whirlpool of disaster. I understand how and why that happens. My heart breaks to see people spinning, and whirling, as they plunge deeper and deeper in a seemingly endless vortex. But be encouraged, God has made a way of escape. 1 Corinthians 10:13b NLT “…And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”
Because that verse is a fact and not a fluffy fantasy, we don’t have to allow problems to suck us into a downward spiral of panic or fear. Realize that allowing yourself to be sucked into the vortex of the problem or situation only compounds the problem instead of solving it. If you let your emotions get away from you, you can get sucked in very quickly!
Calm your emotions. Psalm 131:2 NLT “But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.” Quiet your spirit with worship music, taking a shower or taking a walk. Read a verse and ponder or write down what the verse means. Refuse to allow fear to penetrate your peace. Think about how much God loves you. Think about how His love doesn’t have to be earned. Think about the endlessness of His love. It’s bigness. It’s grandeur. Line up your thinking with scripture verses. Again, refuse to allow thoughts that contradict God’s Word to penetrate your quiet time. You may need more than just a quick few minutes to calm your emotions, if you’re in the middle of a storm. Ask God to quiet your spirit and give you peace.
Worship God. Psalm 43:5 KJV”Why art thou cast down , O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” I love to worship with the Psalms.
Call out to God. Psalms 34:17 NLT “17 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.”
Lift your eyes to Him and His promises. Fill your mind with scriptures that fit the situation. Focus on the promise and not the problem. Don’t allow the problem to drain your thoughts or resourcefulness.
Rehearse your victories and those of people that have won in similar circumstances. Read and reread the stories of people like David and Goliath; Daniel in the Lion’s Den and the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace.
Think Missional! Pass this on to someone you think may enjoy it or need it.
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They had already lost one game in the playoffs. He was 11 years old and just like every other kid there, he wanted to win the Little League World Series. But they were getting whooped bad! It was only the 4th ending and the other team was beating them by 20 points. This defeat would […]
Finally, I got my summer clothes out of the attic and into the dresser drawers only to realize summer is almost over. Where has the summer gone? School supplies wait on shelves for the get-back-to-school rush! That is the bell that says summer recess is over, get back to work! But summer is supposed to be the time for a resting vacation. Maybe your va-cation was a sta-cation that turned into a work-cation. What happened to the rest part?
By the way what is rest? It really looks different to each of us. Rest for my friend Pete is kayaking, which sounds like way too much work me! To me rest is a hammock, assuming I can get into the thing without landing on the ground a dozen times; a big hammock, swaying gently under a shade tree, in a quiet place, beside a stream, birds serenading me, complete with a great book and a tall glass of iced lemonade. Other favorite of mine are: quiet walks through canopied trails and along the seashore; or plopped in a chair on the porch watching sunsets in the mountains; or laughing with my grandchildren. In this mad-dash world that we live in today, it is difficult to find genuine rest. Have you discovered a place of rest?
Rest was God’s idea. Let’s take a look.
1. He established and commanded (not suggested) a day to rest.. (Exodus 20:11)
2. He provides a physical system for rest; sleep.
3. We can believe God for sweet sleep. Proverbs 3:24 KJV
4. We can sleep in peace so our emotions can rest. Psalm 4:8 KJV
5. God established a place of rest that can only be entered by faith and the obedience enabled by faith. (Hebrews 4:1-6) We walk by faith, live by faith and rest because we have faith. Faith in a God that never sleeps, never leaves us and watches over us tenderly.
6. Biblical refreshing…While all these points are vital and viable; there are numerous resources accessible to help you rest better. But often biblical refreshing is overlooked in our quest to rest.
In our quest to rest, we need to be careful that we do not miss the rest that is available in God’s presence. Acts 3:19 (KJV) “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out , when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” It is a place, just as real as your favorite physical location.
I’ve seen children, youth and adults experience that rest in corporate worship; scattered around the room, as they knelt, many laying their faces on the floor resting in the sweet peace of God’s presence.
I’ve moved into a quiet place of rest, in my private worship.
It’s not automatic! That place of refreshing that God has for us can be missed. Isaiah 28:12 “To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.”
Need a vacation? Hurry! Summer is almost over, but before you go, unpack your worries, leave them in God’s hands, and rest.
Matthew 11:28 KJV Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden , and I will give you rest.